Mark: How long is this movie review supposed to be?
Me: I told you on the assignment sheet I gave you yesterday, and which is sitting on your desk right in front of you.
Mark: It's easier for you to tell me.
Me: No, it's actually not.
Jen: So we're writing about two movies? Comparing them?
Me: What? No. Look at the assignment sheet, which I distinctly remember going over in class yesterday and which you have in front of you. It says write about one movie that you choose.
Jen: So it does it have to be one we did in class?
Me (taking a deep breath): Any movie that you choose. It could be one we saw during class, or it could be one you saw on your own, in a theater or at home.
Jen: But I didn't see all of Stranger Than Fiction last week. I was absent, remember?
Me (taking a deeper breath): That's why the assignment can be about ANY movie you want to write about.
Anthony: I bet you're having us write about a movie because we didn't read the book you left when the sub was here and they all disappeared.
Me: That's a good guess, Anthony.
George: But Miss, five to seven paragraphs is mad long. I can't write that much.
Me: Don't worry about the length right now. Just get started on one point and get that part roughed out. Besides, paragraphs can be all different lengths . . .
George (interrupting): No, they're supposed to be three or four sentences long.
Me: Where did you learn that??
Kira: So how long is this supposed to be?
Me (head buried in hands, groaning audibly): Read the assignment sheet again, please.
George: Miss, why do you stress yourself about us? You should just let us take the easy way.
(Murmurs of agreement from other parts of the room.)
Me: Hmmm, let me think about that . . . . um . . . . no.
George: Miss, I'll be honest with you. I've just been doing the bare mininum this year.
Me: Thanks for making that clear.